Instead of simply homing in on one specific musical coordinate, saxophonist Matt Garrison decided to widen his focus and hit a few different targets with his third album. The aptly-titled Patchwork finds him looking toward "initial musical influence, educational influences, and current outcomes." It's a collection of Garrison's personalized yesterday-meets-today musical scenarios.
It's hard to know whether Patchwork should be defined as a vocal record with strong instrumental appeal or an instrumental album with a vocalist out front on the majority of the material; in all truth, it's better not to define it at all. Garrison simply delivers a balanced program of originals and covers that highlights his wide-ranging interests, arranging and composing skills, and saxophone work. He shares the spotlight on most of the material with vocalist Melissa Morgan, who's in fine form throughout, and a good number of his musician friends.
The program moves in surprising directions, as Garrison tips his cap to such unlikely house mates as über-hip singer-songwriter Beck ("Lonesome Tears") and trumpeter Lee Morgan ("Ceora"), but it all works for one simple reason: Garrison's eclecticism is matched by his ability to weave disparate elements together. Garrison addresses a balance between dark and light on "How Can I Be Sure?," tackles Don McLean's "Vincent" in loyal-yet-revitalized fashion, and delivers a wind-textured "Ceora." Melissa Morgan sits out on occasion, as on the cheery and solo-filled "Steppin' Up (And Steppin' Around") and the easy-waltzing "Open To Your Advances," but she's the focal point on much of this material. Garrison proves to be a monster player, whether cooking on soprano ("How Can I Be Sure?") or oozing soul on tenor ("When Eyes Meet"), but he's not an attention hog; plenty of other players, from pianist Nial Djuliarso to trumpeter Bruce Harris, get a chance to shine on the enjoyable Patchwork.
Track Listing: How Can I Be Sure?; Steppin' Up (And Steppin' Around); Vincent; When Eyes Meet; Ceora; Fall For Me; Lonesome Tears; Open To Your Advances; First Flight.
Personnel: Matt Garrison: tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute (8); Melissa Morgan: vocals; Bruce Harris: trumpet, flugelhorn; Mark Williams: trombone; Nial Djuliarso: piano; Yasushi Nakamura: bass; Scott Neumann: drums; Jay Azzolina: guitar; Andrew Swift: fretless electric bass; Jessica Aura Taskov: flute; Gizmordio Twizzletwackle: alto flute; Veroslav Taskov: oboe; David DeJesus: clarinet; Steven Kieley: bass clarinet.
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.